The Rockhampton Grammar School has a dedicated, coastal property for students to camp, explore and push themselves.

Story Ken Eastwood  

Imagine a school that has its own 80 hectares of beachfront on the Capricorn Coast, Qld, where students can camp, sail, kayak, study biology and marine science, snorkel and learn leadership skills. The Rockhampton Grammar School has such a heavenly facility, donated to the school in 1971 by the son of one of the school’s first students.

“In Queensland, there would be no other schools with a 200-acre property on the beach dedicated to outdoor education,” says Damien Boicos, director of outdoor education at Rockhampton Grammar. “It’s actually bringing in enrolments, particularly on an international level. And even in Queensland, we have 350 boarders many from western and northern Queensland, and the idea of going to the beach and doing outdoor education is pretty amazing to them.”

Called Ritamada, the property is situated near Emu Park, a 40-minute drive from the school. As well as plenty of rock pools and beaches that are studied in science classes, Ritamada has ropes courses, permanent tents, a self-contained cabin, boatshed, classrooms and hall. All students spend time there on overnight excursions and for outdoor education programs, with perhaps the culmination being in Year 10 when students prepare for and undertake overnight kayaking or sailing trips to the nearby Keppel Islands. “We will do surfing lessons, sea kayaking, we launch multi-day expeditions off the beach, catamaran sailing and we have a bunch of team-building and navigation activities around the site,” Damien says.

This story excerpt is from Issue #119

Outback Magazine: June/July 2018